Stevenson. James. Now Jay-Z? This Spat Is Getting Serious.

By Mike Wise
Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ever since DeShawn Stevenson, a role-playing shooting guard for the Washington Wizards, deigned to call MVP candidate LeBron James "overrated" last month -- literally a peasant uprising in NBA circles -- the hyperbole between the players and teams has flowed, expanding to new venues and artists never before seen or heard in Zydrunas Ilgauskas's iPod.

Asked to respond to Stevenson, LeBron said that would be like rap icon Jay-Z responding to a one-hit wonder like Soulja Boy. Ouch.

That's like John Starks calling out Michael Jordan, who would say, "For me to respond to that would be Snoop Dogg responding to Vanilla Ice."

Anyhow, Stevenson soon called Soulja Boy to remind him that "Crank Dat" is a very good song and, well, LeBron disrespected you.

Stevenson of course needed help after he and the Wizards laid two eggs in Cleveland falling behind 2-0 in the series. But with his song blaring from the Verizon Center speakers in Game 3, Soulja Boy did his dance, DeShawn busted LeBron and the Cavs -- hitting five deep three-pointers -- and Washington, given a standing ovation by an elated mob clad in white T-shirts and waving white towels, made it a series with a 36-point blowout.

Afterward, LeBron twice said, "There is no LeBron-DeShawn rivalry." But he had reinforcements behind the scenes, big guns that came out Friday night at a club called Love.

That's right, in the wee hours of Friday night at Love, the Northeast club which hosted Gilbert Arenas' million-dollar 25th birthday party last year, the deejay played a new cut by Jay-Z. The hip-hop icon actually cut it Friday and had it downloaded for a party hosted by LeBron James at the club that night. Stevenson was told that the lyrics just eviscerated him -- in his own town.

Then teammate Damon Jones, who last did something to collect an NBA paycheck two years ago, took the microphone and talked junk about Stevenson.

Caron Butler, the only Wizard present, left because "he felt I was being disrespected," Stevenson said.

Basically, LeBron's image is too Teflon to lend any credence to what he calls a non-feud. But like any good king whose throne was attacked by Soulja Boy, he brought in reinforcements -- a professional disser like Jay-Z.

Game 4, this afternoon at 1 p.m. in the District, is so on.

"It's Hova," Arenas said, referring to one of Jay-Z's nicknames. "It's the big dog. If I had three people to talk about me in a song it would be Jay-Z, Michael Jackson and Prince. And Tupac and Biggie, let's be for real. Jay-Z had the time. That means he sat down somewhere, three minutes out of his time he had to write something."

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